This photograph is perfect in every respect, everything from the people within it to its classical composition. It’s the first picture from the Trump administration that completely encapsulates the mood of this moment in history. The whirl and flurry of people orbiting Trump, mirrors the confusion and chaos he’s inflicting upon the world. Then there’s Trump himself, a clueless child at the center of this microcosm of our world.
Trump’s blank stare towards the camera is comparable only to the “this is fine” dog meme because he’s coping with this circumstance in the same manner every American is right now. Denial. Denial. Denial, the first step in grieving the death of our country. It’s obvious we are in over our head, drowning in flames, but we’ll do our best to ignore it because that’s what it takes to remain sane these days.
In addition to Trump, the photo also captures the characters of his closest friends, Bannon, Flynn, and Miller. Fittingly, their movements blur them in the frame, a natural result from their innate shiftiness, and standing in stark contrast from Trump, who, for all of his many issues, can’t help but be authentically him.
Bannon assumes his natural position in this picture. He’s behind Trump, and ready to pull his puppet’s strings. Bannon’s menace is plain to see as he makes his way over to the Prime minister of Japan. It’s clear from the attention Shinzo is paying Bannon, who is really in charge of this affair.
This picture is not without its journalistic merits, in addition to its strengths as portraiture. Next to Bannon is General Flynn. He’s the one staring into the camera with the paranoid and pissed off look in his eye, and it’s with good reason General Flynn would be suspicious of a camera. He’s currently under investigation for negotiating sanction terms with Russia before Trump was president. As this photo was taken, there was word that Flynn may be fire for his treason, but, as result of this photo, it’s safe to say that his job is safe.
On Trump’s right hand is Stephen Miller. He’s the one without a face. According to the aboriginals, a photo steals a portion of a person’s soul, so it’s no surprise the camera wasn’t able to pull anything from Miller. On video, the man’s dead eyes are enough to make a shark blush, and that’s a substantial understatement.
The picture owes its mesmerizing qualities to its classical composition. It fulfills all the elements of the highest art. Its beauty is parallel to that of the Creation of Adam, The Birth of Venus, or The Last Supper.
The Rule of Thirds
The Golden Triangle
The Golden Ratio
The old school influence is appropriate for this picture, as Trump is this age’s Nero, an incestuously inclined emperor, who’s ready to burn down the greatest civilization for his own personal gain, and willing to scapegoat an entire religion to do so.
But it’s important to recognize the beauty where you can find it, even if it’s in the gaping maw of the void. In the coming years, art will be one of the few small silver linings that make persisting through this administration worth it. That and hope, but hope is the one thing this picture doesn’t provide its audience.